PLAYING an all-action CIA agent who takes on the bad guys in communist Cuba, Ana de Armas is the breakout star of the latest Bond movie.
But in real life the Hollywood actress has been caught up in a spy drama that could have been torn straight from the script of No Time To Die.
We can reveal that, in a case of life imitating art, her older brother Javier Caso was interrogated by secret service agents in their home country who accused him of being an American agent — like his sister plays on the big screen.
He is not, but the Stasi-like spooks made menacing references to his “famous” sibling amid suspicions that she was about to speak out against Cuba’s authoritarian regime.
Then, in November last year, Javier, Ana and her then boyfriend Ben Affleck flew into the capital Havana on a private jet to see her seriously ill father, according to her brother’s close friend.
Actress Lynn Cruz says there were real fears that New York-based artist Javier would be arrested on arrival.
He is a prominent member of the 27N movement — named after November 27, the date Cuban rapper Denis Solis Gonzalez was arrested last year — and has voiced his dissent online, which is illegal in Cuba.
Lynn, 44, revealed: “Javier told me the airport was full of Cuban security agents, so it was a very tense moment.
“But probably because he was with his sister and Ben Affleck, they did nothing.
“Ana was flying in from the States to see their dying father, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“He got sick in October last year and it’s the type of cancer you can prevent if you catch it early.
“But in Cuba we don’t have the right kind of medicine and if the cancer is complicated you cannot find the solution here.
“Their dad was young, in his 60s, and he had nurses at his home and good treatment which Javier and his sister were paying for.
“But he died in November a short time after they returned to the States.”
Lynn believes Ramon’s death is a factor in Javier’s anger against the regime.
She said: “Ana came back for the funeral but Javier wasn’t able to.
“It was very sad. I knew their father and he was someone who believed in the communist revolution, but he was very down about how things have ended up here.
“Javier is like his father and that is why he is furious. He is angry with the traitors of the revolution who have created the mess we are living in today.”
Because the US is the hated enemy of Cuba, eyebrows would have been raised when Ana, 33, was cast as American agent Paloma in the latest 007 movie No Time To Die, which is setting box office records.
Soviet Union-backed firebrand Fidel Castro seized power in 1959. CIA meddling has been constant since then — and US secret agents even tried to assassinate Castro by planting a bomb in one of his beloved cigars.
Ana was born in the small city of Santa Cruz del Norte, and her LA life today is in stark contrast to her humble upbringing in Cuba.
But she enjoyed her childhood, saying recently: “I grew up in nature, at the beach, and playing on the streets with friends.
“I felt very free. Just going wild out there and coming back home to have dinner and watch cartoons. Falling and having my knees all bleeding all the time. It was a normal childhood.”
She escaped the poverty -stricken Caribbean island by using her Spanish heritage to move to Madrid when she was only 18.
She found a part in a TV series then made the leap to Los Angeles, where despite having little English she managed to win a big-screen role alongside Keanu Reeves in the 2015 erotic thriller Knock Knock.
In 2017, she appeared alongside Ryan Gosling as his hologram lover Joi in sci-fi sequel Blade Runner 2049.
She is now set to play Marilyn Monroe in the Netflix biopic Blonde.
Ana has also been in Spain filming The Gray Man — which, like the Bond movie, has a CIA plot.
She and Ben Affleck ended their one-year romance in January, shortly before the Batman actor got back with his ex Jennifer Lopez.
Her current boyfriend Paul Boukadakis, 37, should know a thing or two about dating — as he is vice president of love match app Tinder.
The actress is now seen as a shining star by the Cuban government, which is terrified she might turn traitor, according to her long-time friend Lynn.
It is perhaps for this reason that her 35-year-old brother was hauled in for questioning during a visit to Havana in January last year, just a month after pandemic-delayed No Time To Die wrapped.
His only crime, according to Lynn, was to visit her and director husband Miguel Coyula, 44, when they were shooting a movie called Blue Heart which is critical of the regime run by current president Miguel Díaz-Canel.
Lynn said: “We were filming a scene in the east of Havana and we asked Javier, who has been my friend for 15 years, to join us.
“I posted about this on Facebook, and afterwards, the security service started calling him.
“Javier’s mother was also calling us saying, ‘You have an appointment for an interview tomorrow in the immigration office.’
“We knew it was an interrogation as the people interviewing him were military security agents.
“The films we work on are very critical and they knew that Javier is a filmmaker, and his sister is a famous actress, so I think they wanted to cut the alliance before it started.”
Incredibly, Javier managed to tape the meeting by strapping a recording device to his stomach. He later put the audio on YouTube.
When he asked what he was accused of, the agents told him: “The problem is that Lynn is someone under surveillance.
“In associating with those people you run the risk of becoming involved in their crime.”
Menacingly, one of the officers then added: “Your sister is famous, right? She’s a very good actress. We are grateful for her roles.
“But that doesn’t get you off the hook if you commit a crime.”
Last year Javier went on hunger strike in solidarity with artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, 33, who was arrested for being a part of the San Isidro protest movement.
And there has been anger in Cuba — where around 800 protesters have been arrested and more demonstrations against the government will take place next month — that his sister has not also publicly denounced the regime.
Lynn, however, believes the star could face intimidation by the government and may also be wary of upsetting lefties in Hollywood.
She said: “We are living in a state of terror in Cuba. We don’t have a government — we have a tyrant.
“We have no freedom here and in some areas there is no electricity or water yet they are building big hotels with swimming pools for tourists.
“When Ana was in Spain she talked more openly about the Cuban situation.
“She wants to make a good career as an actor and she has family in Cuba and we know there are consequences for that.”
In a worst-case scenario, Lynn believes speaking out could cause Ana to be banned from going back to Cuba — where her mum, who is in her mid-60s, still lives.
Lynn went on: “Her mother is worried about her.
“If Ana speaks out against the government, they could ban her from entering the country.
“It’s a delicate situation for her but Javier doesn’t care.
“Ana has a similar character but she cares about other things now and perhaps doesn’t want to get in trouble with the Cuban government.”